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Male Deropeltis paulinoi


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Reminds me of a certain firefly species, also kinda looks like a leatherwing beetle or soldier beetle. Maybe it's a mimic?

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But its not a mimic, because the females and nymphs look like:

Deropeltispsmallgroup.jpg

** FEMALE on the left, nymph male on the right, and three female nymphs in the center of the image. **

...and the males only have wings. The wings are also extra long- much longer than the body, which is otherwise the same size as the female. I think all roach hobbiests should have a colony of these in thier collection. They are sexually diverse, colorful, active, non-burrowing, a bit easy to keep, and do everything in groups. Fun!

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  • 3 weeks later...
But its not a mimic, because the females and nymphs look like:

Deropeltispsmallgroup.jpg

** FEMALE on the left, nymph male on the right, and three female nymphs in the center of the image. **

...and the males only have wings. The wings are also extra long- much longer than the body, which is otherwise the same size as the female. I think all roach hobbiests should have a colony of these in thier collection. They are sexually diverse, colorful, active, non-burrowing, a bit easy to keep, and do everything in groups. Fun!

Is there a way to distinguish an adult female from a subadult one, other than size?

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No, I only have got my group for a couple of weeks. I was told all the animals were subadult so I didn't have much comparing to do.

Now I have my first male adult. I did't know where to look for specifically to find adult females. Except for the hissers all my roaches are winged, so clearly noticeble when they've reached adulthood.

I'll try to locate the difference. Now it's pretty clearly, looking at the picture above.

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YES. The color of the head for one. Adult females always have the dark pattern that orange headed nympha lack. Also, look to where the wings would be- also short as nymph and adult, where males get pointed and slightly elongate as nymph.

In my pic above you can see the head color- adult female dark between eyes, nymph orange between eyes male or female.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry for my late reaction. I've seen both the characteristics (valves and head color) and wanted to take a pic. Unfortunately I didn't succeed in catching a nymph since they are very fast. I didn't want to disturb the colony too much. These two were easily collected by picking up a branch on which they clinged.

Adult female

deropeltispaulinoi01ua9.jpg

Adult female close up

deropeltispaulinoi03jo8.jpg

Adult male

deropeltispaulinoi02td6.jpg

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Don't these have really toxic defensive secretions? They look like they would...anyway. That would explain the mimicry of something else that is also toxic(firefly)

If they are toxic then I am suprised I am not sick or dead by now! They have a secretion that has stained my fingers for 3 days or so and does not wash off easily at all. Other than skin stains, I have had no other side effects. If they are toxic it could be toxic by ingesting the roach, though, and I would not eat one to find out.

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I remember Orin telling someone, I don't remember how long ago, that they make terrible feeders because of the quinones they contain. I'm guessing it won't kill ya to crunch on one but it wouldn't be very tasty, like eating a bombardier beetle without the explosion. :)

Don't these have really toxic defensive secretions? They look like they would...anyway. That would explain the mimicry of something else that is also toxic(firefly)
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Great photos, Maarten ..!

These roaches do not appear to be toxic to humans, but I have tried to feed them to things and they go uneaten. :(

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Did you eat one?

HA !! No, let me rephrase: They do not appear to be toxic to humans if they or thier secretions come in contact with the skin or eyes of the person handling them. Though thier secretion will stain the skin for up to 3 days and does leave a light stain on the eye/contact lens.... how long I dont know. Lens was tossed and eye was flushed, being fine within the hour.

Smartalecs are everywhere.... :P

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Hi,

The D. paulinoi, certainly in the UK stock originated in Windhoek, Namibia, where they are synathropic especially in the rains and, and are often a nusiance in houses. They are aposomatic in colouration, nymphs are gregarious to emphasize their colour and can be found in large agregations. They produce a benzoquinone defence secretion, which although not fatal can cause minor skin burns, ulceration of the mouth and blurred visiion. It is lilley to have evolved against mammal anti-predation.

The simplest way of determining if a female is adult or not is to check whether she has styles on the subgenital plate, if present immature if not then adult, since only adult makes possess styles.

cheers

Darren

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